The Lupulin Exchange (LEx) is a community of commercial brewers who regularly need to rebalance hop positions, understand market conditions, as well as leverage data, technology, and collective buying power to source future hop requirements. The LEx platform allows brewers, merchants, and growers to list hops for sale, search for varieties to buy, set up Hop Alerts, and make secure transactions.
Since 2014, the LEx platform has substantially improved transparency, market allocations (a major contributing factor to the hop crisis of 2008-9), and community member decision making, while providing a means for convenient, secure transactions.
Who We Are
In 2011, John Bryce took over brewery operations at what was then Virginia's largest craft brewery. After refining many of the brewery's recipes & processes, the brewery wound up rather long on some hop varieties and short on others. Many hours were then spent renegotiating hop contracts signed by Bryce's predecessors. Eventually, John also made a classified post via the BA forum, offering to sell thousands of pounds of several different varieties. The post resulted in > 400 email inquiries in < 24 hours. What ensued was many hours spent replying to those messages, tracking which brewery had paid for which hops, verifying checks hadn't bounced, arranging shipment of those hops, etc. - time that would've been better spent decreasing DO levels, dialing in mill gap settings, perfecting pitch rates, cleaning, etc.
By 2014, after observing similar experiences, Bryce couldn't shake the feeling that there had to be a better way for breweries to even out their hop positions. The vibrant spot market that existed prior to the 2008/2009 "hop crisis" had dried up and brewery contracting rates had skyrocketed, but most breweries still needed to be nimble - decide to brew a Czech pils next week and be able to quickly get a small quantity of CZ Saaz, or to quickly shed 15% of their EKG liability without renegotiating a contract when their English pale ale sales fell short of projections.
That's when the idea for The Lupulin Exchange was born. With about $4,000 and plenty of grit, The Lupulin Exchange was launched in Sept of 2014. What began as a community of brewers selling excess hops to other brewers, eventually became a busy marketplace, full of merchants, growers, and nearly every brewery in the country, from the smallest nano to MillerCoors.
Our footprint may be big, but we are still the smallest of businesses. After operating for many years with only a single FTE + side-hustle contributions from the original founders (all of whom had day jobs), John finally stepped away from brewing in 2022 to focus on LEx full-time (although he still spends a few hours per week hosting the Master Brewers Podcast). Still privately held (zero debt & zero VC$), today, The Lupulin Exchange is operated exclusively by Bryce and a small team of only 2 web developers. If you submit a support ticket, it'll be answered by John Bryce, not some stranger in another country who doesn't understand what it's like to be a brewer. We have a lot of exciting plans in the pipeline and look forward to solving many more problems for brewers, merchants, and growers. We are incredibly thankful for your loyalty and grateful for your patience. We are imperfect but work hard to improve your experiences and solve your problems. If there is anything we can do to help, please let us know!
To unify & add radical transparency to the entire hop market
- Relentless improvement and innovation
- Think big and take smart risks
- Honesty and fairness
- Go the extra mile